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Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner

Title: A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend
Author: Emily Horner

Release Date: 28th June 2010

My Rating: 4/5

Cass and her drama-crazy best friend, Julia, were planning a road trip to California. When Julia is killed in a car accident, Cass decides to follow the original plan anyway. Even if she has a bicycle instead of a driver's licence, and even if Julia's ashes are coming along in Tupperware.

This a story about friendship. About love. About travelling a thousand miles just to find yourself. And it's a story about the kookiest high school musical one quiet suburb has ever seen.

My Review:
I really enjoyed A Love Story. It's about one girls quest to confront her grief and discover herself. It is a funny, touching, coming-of-age debut and while I wouldn't go so far as to say Cass is highly likeable, I do think teenagers will be able to relate to at least one of her struggles (including her alternative parents). The main themes are friendship, grief, relationships, self esteem, sexuality, growing up and... musicals!

Although Cass is a smart girl, she hasn't quite figured out who she is or her place in the world and after the death of Julia, while she tells herself the road trip is to honour Julia, it's more about being independent, proving herself to those back home and herself and it also allows her to get away from some of Julia's friends who are striking out at her and each other amidst their grief. It also gives her the chance to get away, think clearly and discover who she is as a person and also what Julia really meant to her.

The story is a little slow and confusing at the beginning, mostly due to the fact that it goes back and forth in time, from 'Then' when Julia was alive and the subsequent road trip and 'Now' after Cass has returned and is working on the musical penned by Julia, 'Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad'. I'm not a big fan of books that go back and forth in time but I quickly got over my initial confusion as I think Emily Horner has done a really good job of keeping the story together and all events relevant.

There are two little paragraphs that have really stuck with me since finishing this book. Neither of them have anything to do with each other (they both just happen to occur at 3am).

The first is this, for no reason other than it made me laugh.

'Okay. Obviously you have not lived.'
'I was once kissed in a motel hallway by a bass player, at three in the morning,'
'Impressive, but unconvincing.'

The second is part of an entire chapter which I love but if I write down the whole chapter, aside from being ridiculously long, it will spoil some of the story. I will say that this chapter, to me, represents the true meaning of friendship.

'Thank you,' I said. Like that would cover it. Like it would come anywhere close to covering it. But what else was there to say at three in the morning?

If I was to compare it with other YA titles, I would say if you mix Will Grayson, Will Grayson, The Sky is Everywhere and Pink by Lili Wilkinson, you have A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend.


  1. I love all the books you've mixed it up with. I really want to read this one - i love the title and i'm really hoping my library will get it in! I love both quotes @ three in the morning. i am a three in the morning kinda girl...

  2. Okay, I am now *so* happy that I have this on order! Thanks for a fab review. I know I'm going to love this one.


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